Friday, May 23, 2008

Tiny, tiny babies

I want to be really clear that I was relieved when I heard that Chris Kahui was found not guilty.* I've no idea who killed the Kahui twins,** it may have been Chris. But iff someone had gone to jail for their murder that wouldn't have made that person any less likely to be violent towards children in the future, and it won't stop another caregiver of a small child doing violence under stress. It might have served as punishment, but whoever killed two babies of their own family is punishing themselves already. All that's left is vengeance, and no-one has a right to claim vengeance in those babies names.

I do have a point I want to make, now that I've made it clear that I am not calling for a different verdict. From the very beginning, the defence painted Macsyna King as guilty, and they emphasised again and again what a bad mother she was. They talked of her going out with her sister, leaving Chris Kahui alone with the twins. This is from the summing up:

The twins were not victims of a one-off assault but had historic injuries, and it was "suspicious" their mother was not aware of these.

The Crown had accused Kahui's defence of blackening Ms King's reputation, but Mrs Smith said Ms King, through abandoning her other children and her drug use, had done that all by herself.
I don't think this defence would have been used or useful if the genders had been reversed. If hypothetical-Macsyna had been standing trial for their murder, then she would have not been able to use the fact that hypothetical-Chris had gone out partying all night, abandoned previous chidren and not noticed previous injuries to portray him as guilty. What is almost unforgivable in a mother, is almost acceptable in a father.

Note on Comments: I got linked to by a couple of obnoxious right-wing blogs so I've turned off the comments on this post.

* I want to remind people that Chris Kahui spent several months in jail, while he was unable to get bail. During this time he was in physical danger, and so was kept in segregation, which would have meant 23 hour lock-down. The prominence, and swiftness, of the 'not guilty' verdict, doesn't seem to have led to a discussion about how he has already been punished.

** That is, which person inflicted the injuries. Because capitalism and colonialism played a large part in those babies deaths.